Welcome back for another week of our study, What Love Is by Kelly Minter! We’re discussing week 4 in our small groups, which covered these themes:
- Agape love
- Obeying God’s commands.
- Overcoming sin.
- Loving others.
People let you down sometimes. Even well-meaning, good, godly people can disappoint you.
No one is perfect and certainly circumstances aren’t always perfect. Sometimes they conspire against us to turn life into a crazy mess of unexpected obstacles.
Truth be told, sometimes I even feel a little disappointed with God, too, because even though I know He is working out things for my good and even though I know His plans for me are best, sometimes they sure don’t feel “best,” “good” or “perfect.”
In fact, maybe the plans I’ve concocted seem to make a whole lot more sense in the moment.
Sometimes I do it, too unintentionally letting my kids down. You can try to do everything right as a mom and always be perfect and still not always get it either right or perfect.
There was the time the school invited me to be a guest reader for Read Aloud Day. I chatted with all 3 of my daughters and we picked out the books I would read to each of their classes.
When the big day came, I read to two classes, hugged two of my daughters, and arrived at the third daughter’s classroom only to find she wasn’t there.
They switch classes all day long in this grade and apparently my scheduled time to read occurred when neither my daughter nor any of her classmates were actually in their own classroom.
It was a simple mistake and I really had nothing to do with it, but I ended up reading to other people’s kids and not my own.
Then I tracked down my girl in the school, let her know what had happened, and went home.
At the end of the day, my oldest daughter climbed into the minivan quietly. Then, as she settled into her seat, I heard the sniffles: “You went to the wrong class.”
That’s what she was crying about. I knew the truth. I had gone where I was supposed to go, when I was supposed to go there.
But the bottom line was the same: “I was so disappointed. I told all my friends you would come and what book you would read and I waited all day and you didn’t even come.”
I guess she misunderstood.
And the truth is that we all face disappointment. Maybe with others who are hurtful and cruel. Maybe with friends who simply mess up. Maybe with circumstances that go awry and wreck are best-laid plans.
Maybe even when God interrupts our life with the unexpected , we feel the disappointment.
In 1 John 4:16, we read one of my favorite promises:
So we know and rely on the love God has for us – 1 John 4:16
We can know. Not guess and waiver, not wish for or imagine. We can know the love God has for us.
More than that, though, we can rely on it.
He’s reliable and trustworthy. His love for us is never-failing, never-giving-up, always-and-forever, I can’t do anything to mess it up love.
So, we can rest in that. We can stretch back into the arms of Christ and relax all those tense muscles of worrying and fretting and trying to hang on for dear life to every detail of every day.
And when life shoots unexpected arrows at us or plans seem to go awry, still we rely on His love.
He will not let us down.
Circumstances will let us down. People will disappoint us.
But God will not.
Even when we can’t see what He’s doing in the moment and even when His plans don’t make sense to us right here and now, we can go back to what we know.
He loves us.
We can rely on His love.
So, we need not fear.
P.S. One hot cup of tea, some hugs from me, and a quick email to my daughter’s teacher to set up another time to read made my daughter’s day much better.
BIBLE STUDY TIP:
Pray! I know that sounds like the most simplistic advice you’ve ever received about Bible study. Yet, sometimes I get caught up in the to-do list and even treat my Bible study time as just another task to get done. I sit down and jump right in.
Before we begin to read God’s Word, though, we can pause and pray. It makes such a difference!
Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. We’ve been learning in What Love Is about this anointing that Jesus has given us as believers! We have the Holy Spirit here in us to teach and counsel us, to convict and encourage us.
Sometimes God’s Word can be difficult to understand, especially John’s writings. But asking the Holy Spirit to teach us can make the Scripture come alive!
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Basic Study: Complete week 5 in the study guide, about 20-30 minutes each day.
- Optional: To watch session 5 video CLICK HERE (optional due to cost).
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK (answer in small groups or post a comment here):
- Kelly wrote, “Children of God must listen to the spirit of God.” How are you deliberately, purposefully listening to the Lord right now? If a new Christian asked you how to “listen,” what advice would you give? (from pp. 108-109).
- How has knowing Jesus changed the way you make decisions? Have you made any life-changing choices since becoming a believer where you involved Him in your decision-making? What was that like? (from p. 115)
- What do you fear most in your relationship with God? (Like: that He doesn’t love you or can’t forgive you or that He’s going to punish you?) How does the truth of God’s pursuing love for you help silence your fears? “There is no fear in love; instead perfect love drives out fear….” (1 John 4:18). (from p. 116).
- Psalm 119:32 says, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” This week we studied the difference between burdensome, legalistic demands and God’s commands. Have you felt weighed down by legalism before? What’s the difference between legalism and the freedom that comes with obeying God’s commands? (from p. 121).
- God asks us to love some hard-to-love people at times. How can we love others even when it’s difficult? How does God use that experience to teach us, mature us, and draw us to Himself? (from p. 103).